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5 Tips to Winterizing Your Motorcycle

Krima is a multi-skilled journalist and writer with extensive print, broadcast, online, and digital experience.

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If your ideal motorcycle storage during winter is throwing a cover over the bike, then you may be in for nasty surprises come springtime. Your bike might not be able to start when the riding season begins, and that should be the last thing to least expect.

Some simple and easy work in winter can save repair bills later in spring that come with battery replacements, rebuilding carburetors, and cleaning of rusty gas tanks. Generally, maintenance is always cheaper than repairs, so winterize your bike correctly.

Here are tips to ensure that your bike is ready as you will be when it's time to take a ride.

Change the Oil and Filters

The oil chemistry typically changes over long storage periods. Old oil is likely to develop acidic qualities, which tend to the engine parts. It's always better for the lubrication system to have fresh oil for a few months than having used broken down oil in it.

Lightly coat the engine's internals with oil if you're going to store the bike for a more extended period to prevent the cold winter air from gathering up moisture in your engine, which causes rust on your cylinder walls and pistons. Remove the spark plugs and put a little squirt into the holes to coat the cylinder walls, and replace the spark plugs after everything is coated.

The oil chemistry typically changes over long storage periods. Old oil is likely to develop acidic qualities, which tend to the engine parts. It's always better for the lubrication system to have fresh oil for a few months than having used broken down oil in it.

Lightly coat the engine's internals with oil if you're going to store the bike for a more extended period to prevent the cold winter air from gathering up moisture in your engine, which causes rust on your cylinder walls and pistons. Remove the spark plugs and put a little squirt into the holes to coat the cylinder walls, and replace the spark plugs after everything is coated.

Safeguard the Battery

It's common how batteries discharge when left inactive over time, especially when still hooked to the motorcycle. Some batteries require charging after every four weeks using the "battery tender" types of chargers.

If you don't have a smart tender, pull the battery from your bike for storage. The sulfates that built up on the plates can damage your battery when inactive and during cold storage. The application of a thin coat of grease to the battery terminals helps prevent corrosion.

Protect the Tires

When motorcycle tires are left in the same position for the whole winter period, they develop flat spots. This is prevented by keeping the tires off the ground. Use motorcycle stands to put the bike up during storage.

If you don't have a stand, try to keep the rear tire off the ground or rotate the tires every few weeks by rolling your bike slightly. Use a carpet or plywood if you'll have to leave your tires on the concrete to prevent moisture from penetrating them.

Keep Away Pests

Rodents such as mice are quite notorious when it comes to hiding from the cold outdoors. They make homes in the motorcycle's exhaust pipes and air filters. Use exhaust plugs to plug up the pipes or stuff the air intake and the end of the exhaust with bright colored plastic bags or tie something to it so that you don't forget to remove them when you want to start the bike.

Keep It Covered

Now with your bike fully prepared for winter, consider investing in a good motorcycle cover. A cover keeps dust and moisture out of the bike such that it doesn't get trapped underneath your machine, which may result in rust or corrosion. If you store the bike outside, get a cover fitted with tie-downs so that it's not blown away by the wind.

The end of fall usually marks a crucial maintenance period for many bikes. If you're not one of the fortunate riders who tend to enjoy a year-round suitable cycling climate, then the above steps are critical in protecting your bike over the winter period.

Winterize your motorcycle such that come spring; you get back on the road with little or no problem.

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